On The Open Road fall under that huge banner that is “pop punk”, a genre we’ve heard a lot from lately on these pages. They are billed as “for fans of Blink 182 and Neck Deep” and they definitely have that vibe to them, though with more of a heavy rhythm in places.
Given that they come from Nottinghamshire, they need a sense of humour and it comes through in their songs, though they they add a touch of melancholy as well – a nod, perhaps to their influences. Some of Blink’s best songs are the less bouncy numbers after all.
I found the sound a little overly “bass-y” for my headphones, though I’m assuming this is just the promo copy I received. Or the fact that I have crap headphones. It’s a shame as otherwise, this is a decent album. Yes – album. Though the band seem to be pushing Storyteller as an EP, there are eight tracks on here even if the opener is only half a minute or so.
What On The Open Road definitely have is the ability to write a catchy riff. While some of the tracks are quite blistering, there’s always some nice harmony kicking around and the punk-esque vocals float over the top. “Smooth Sailing Is A Fool’s Thought” is a prime example. It’s SUM-41 feel is joined by a multi-vocal sing-along chorus.
“Regret Me Not” opens with more of an Offspring feel, using distorted guitars to bash your brains before pausing for a clean break a short distance in, then going for the Blink-style bounce/speed style. It’s like they’re trying to pay homage to every major pop/punk band at once.
A stand-out track, and one picked to be the first single from the album, is “Rainy Days” which again covers so many bases. It’s the slow chorus that sells it, though. This is a song that will unite a live crowd. It’s simple chugging riff is great for getting the head going, it unleashes hell during the verses and then there’s the “Woah-oh” backing vocals for those who prefer to raise their voices to their fists.
Of course, there needs to be a downbeat track and Storyteller‘s token effort is “This Is Goodbye (I Tried)”. As if you couldn’t tell from the title, this is a song about breaking up and it’s pretty maudlin!
The tempo is raised for album closer “The Worst Guy”, though, leaving things on a high. Hell, they even chuck in a little bit of a death/post-punk growl towards the end.
This is a good little album, and one I’m glad I picked out of the pile for review. If the guys can put on a live show to match it, then you’ve got an act to watch out for.
Storyteller is out on 26th February 2016. Album art by Katie Abey Design.